Originally Posted September 2016
Updated January 2020
Food is indeed a powerful medicine. You’re ingesting it a few times a day. It contains numerous nutrients, which our body processes and uses as fuel. It has the power to heal, but also to sicken you if it’s not right for your unique metabolism, or it’s processed and toxic.
How to Eat Healthy
There are some basic rules you can implement to aim for healthier eating habits and a healthy weight.
Oils and Fats
Dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat. Foods rich in fat (the right type of fat!) will help you feel satiated, and they won’t trigger the insulin high and crash that most processed carbs (like bakery goods and breads) do. Without insulin highs and lows, your blood sugar will be more stable and your body can access the fuel it’s storing in your fat cells.
Consuming healthy fats instead of processed, toxic ones can improve your health. This means not buying or consuming margarine, other butter imitations, hydrogenated oils, canola, corn oil, sunflower oil, soy oils and other such polyunsaturated oils. These are highly processed and refined oils, they oxidize quickly and become rancid even before they hit the shelves. They contain high amounts of omega 6 and are not stable at high temperatures. This means they generate free radicals. A constant consumption of these oils can cause inflammation and disturb the metabolism of lipids in your body.
Organic, unrefined coconut oil is absolutely delicious, versatile and provides an excellent “fuel” for your body; it supports a strong metabolism that can aid in weight loss. Coconut oil also has strong anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, supports proper thyroid function, promotes heart health and healthy brain function and strengthens your immune system.
Other healthy oils and fats to consume are: extra virgin olive oil, sustainably grown palm oil, raw, organic, grass fed butter and animal fats that come from healthy animals with no hormones and antibiotics added.
The vast, colorful array of vegetables are high in minerals, vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals. They contain significant amounts of beta carotene, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, biotin, vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, lutein, magnesium and potassium.
Aim for a diversity of colorful vegetables since every color represents a different family of healing compounds. For example, leafy greens (like kale, spinach, collards, and swiss chards) are low in both calories and starch, but loaded with fiber and a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating plenty of complex carbs such as broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, artichokes, onions, garlic, leeks, and asparagus can help feed the good bacteria and starve the bad bacteria in your digestive system.
Reduce your consumption of high starch carbs like grains, potatoes, peas, legumes, since they will transform into sugar in your body and contribute to weight gain.
Protein is essential for healthy living. It is one of the most important nutrients for the human body, second only to water. Bone health, muscle function, mass and strength and immune function — all are impaired with a low intake of protein.
Eating enough protein while losing weight is more likely to minimize muscle loss and maximize fat loss. Keeping muscle stores high is critical, because when you lose muscle, it decreases your resting metabolic rate, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight or lose body fat.
Animal protein is rich in some vital and supportive nutrients like vitamin B12, biovailable iron and zinc, choline, vitamin A, vitamin D, sulfur-containing molecules, calcium, EPA and DHA fatty acids.
Quality animal-based nutrition not only provides nutritional value, but also supports liver function, detoxification and general tissue healing. The quality for this food group is as essential as consuming it: avoid industrial raised meat, eggs and dairy and choose organic animal products, that come from healthy animals raised on pasture, without the use of antibiotics, hormones and a toxic diet.
Fiber can prevent obesity, reduce the risk for chronic diseases, and decrease aging. It slows the rate food enters your bloodstream and increases the speed of food exiting through the digestive tract, ensuring proper nutrition and elimination. Dietary fiber also helps balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels, aids in quick release of toxins from your gut and curbs your appetite.
The healthiest fiber sources are to be found in vegetables and raw, fresh nuts.
Whole grains are also rich in fiber, but if you’re already struggling with insulin and leptin resistance, these will raise your insulin and leptin levels, thereby contributing to weight gain. Processed grains and processed foods with added fiber will not provide you with the health benefits you need. If you fall short on consuming sufficient fiber, consider adding organic psyllium husk and/or sprouted sunflower seeds to your diet and don’t forget proper hydration.
Improving Your Nutrition to Improve Your Health
Learning what foods are right for you can help you achieve a healthier life. Finding the right diet for you is a great first step.
At Holtorf Medical Group, we offer nutritional services designed completely around you to help you achieve your goals. Our physicians will speak with you one-on-one to discuss your goals and your concerns. They use that information to work with you and develop a customized healthy eating plan! If you’re looking for ways to improve your diet and overall health, give us a call at 877-508-1177!